Yard Friend

I was walking around in the yard the other day taking pictures. I have no clue why I decided to look down at that exact moment, but if I hadn’t, I would have stepped on this little guy. I almost didn’t even notice him when I looked. He was just hanging out in the grass, snuggled between the blades just enough to be overlooked.

Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead

This is another post I really battled posting, but it just pushed way too many buttons for me not to say something. I figured this was the best place to do so. This can definitely be filed under the “Don’t Be An Asshole” category.

Continue reading “Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead”

Today’s Cuteness: Baby Bunny!

Hubby came across this little guy huddled in the grass the other day when he was mowing and had to be careful. There was actually a second one, but ran into some bushes to hide. This one was still out there when he finished and I was able get really close and grab several shots. Poor thing was terrified.

Baby Bunny
Baby Bunny

Quality of Work?

This is a subject that has been rolling around in my head for a while now and I’ve gone back and forth debating with myself over whether I wanted to post about it or not. Are we diluting the quality of our literature with the advent of self-publishing? Yes, I’m actually asking that as a self-published, indie author.

Continue reading “Quality of Work?”

Book Review – Tuesday’s Child: Psychic Visions, Book 1

Author: Dale Mayer
Book Name: Tuesday’s Child
Series: Psychic Visions
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Paranormal
Rating:  Okay/Good
3+stars

 

Blurb:

What she doesn’t want…is exactly what he needs.

Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer—or rather, his victims. Each woman’s murder, blow-by-blow, ravages her mind until their death releases her back to her body. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her?

Detective Brandt Sutherland only trusts hard evidence, yet Sam’s visions offer clues he needs to catch a killer. The more he learns about her incredible abilities, however, the clearer it becomes that Sam’s visions have put her in the killer’s line of fire. Now Brandt must save her from something he cannot see or understand…and risk losing his heart in the process.

As danger and desire collide, passion raises the stakes in a game Sam and Brandt don’t dare lose.

I have really mixed feelings about this one. I love the basic concept this story is built on, but there are things about it that I really struggled with when it came to overcoming disbelief. Sure, as a paranormal book, that is kind of a requirement, but there still has to be a way for the reader to believe the events/scenarios are possible in the world that is created.

The first issue I had wasn’t with the visions Sam has, but with the physical manifestation of those visions in such a way that make this more than just a paranormal concept. The physical, mortal wounds that miraculously heal within minutes was a really hard one to swallow because there is no logic or explanation given to make it a believable concept. If this were a full on fantasy, it could be because of some magical component or a natural aspect of some fantastical being, but that isn’t the case here. Sam is just a human with psychic abilities, yet has this other seemingly miraculous additional ability. As a reader, you are just required to completely accept it as fact without question.

There are also parts that seem oddly out of place or that feel like they weren’t fully fleshed out. One example would be when Sam’s coworkers found out about her abilities. It was mentioned, the reader is told they talked but isn’t given any details of the conversation, just that every single person just went about it like it was no big deal and Sam is totally accepted by every one of them and everything is fine. No real tension or doubt, no real questioning of her abilities. Just “Oh, you’re psychic. Okay.” Several of the conversations and emotional situations throughout the book are handled in a similar way making it really difficult to believe the emotions of Sam or Brandt. The reader is given a small sentence or two of information and expected to just accept it at that face value.

Those things made it harder to sink into the rest of the book leaving me with kind of a “meh” reaction to the whole. It does appear that this book has the lowest rating of all the others in the series, so I’m willing to give the next one a try to see if those things are handled better because I do still really like the basic psychic concept that seems to be the foundation for this series.

More Storms

The rain finally broke yesterday afternoon and it cleared off for a couple of hours before the storms blew up again. Thankfully, they did so after only a brief downpour here, but I got to watch the clouds forming off to our northeast.

Storm Clouds
Storm Clouds

I have always found it fascinating to watch clouds, especially storm clouds. This massive storm kept billowing up, higher and wider, building on itself. You could watch those edges just continue to roll and grow.

Storm Clouds
Storm Clouds

I didn’t get any of these with the houses for context other than a small roof peak here and there, but this was a massive beast. I no longer have quite the clear view I used to because of all of those houses, but I still have a decent enough gap in certain areas to still be able to get some good pictures.

Storm Clouds
Storm Clouds

It was close to sunset so there was some really interesting lighting going on, but it wasn’t quite close enough to create more stunning colors. Still, it was amazing to watch. And, I was really glad we didn’t get any more rain last night. Sadly, I think the next round it due to hit later today and they are calling for another doozy with a potential for upwards of another 7 inches or so.

Storm Clouds
Storm Clouds

Drenched

It has been raining and storming for nearly 24 hours almost non-stop (still a few hours shy of that, but it’s close and we aren’t anywhere near done yet). Normally, that isn’t that big of a deal but that rain has been coming down in buckets that entire time. Oh, and the storming part. Yeah, that part was super fun to try and sleep through. I couldn’t decide which was worse. The wind sounding like it was going to blow the roof off or the massive claps of thunder that shook the foundation for extended periods of time feeling more like an earthquake than thunder. And it is COLD! I actually had to turn the heat back on. I don’t think I’ve ever done that this late in May.

Between the lack of sleep last night and the night before (thank you lack of grace for giving me achy muscles and a banged up elbow!), I’m struggling to not be grumpy. I can say the positive in all of this is that, fingers and toes crossed, we haven’t seen any leaks. I’m kind of shocked by that. I don’t think that we’ve had a crazy heavy rain like this in the 15 years we’ve been in this house that didn’t give us at least a small leak somewhere. Today, I’m taking the positive where I can and running with it.

Now if I could just find a book to read…

Recital Aftermath

That is one more dance recital in the memory books. As always, I’m left with this lovely mix of feeling glad the chaos is over for a year and sad to see one more year gone. The end of recital night seems to come with lots of talk about plans for next dance season and tons of high energy from all the adrenaline and tears from the older girls that this was their last. This recital drove home for me that BG only has 3 left if she continues to dance through senior year as she plans. In 3 years, she will be one of those girls.

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Recital Bouquets – 2019!

I got them finished and they turned out really pretty. I had done the ribbon inserts last night, so all I had to do today was put them together. There are small things I’m not thrilled with, but I was sort of limited by what I was able to get. Working with the large ball hydrangea blooms also limited my options. Considering BG wanted the two different colors… well, it was an interesting challenge.

When we were looking at the flowers last night, I was really frustrated with the quality of my choices. I finally found the colors I wanted, but the one collection (the peachy hydrangea and the purple/white daisy), there were only two bunches and both had issues. In one, the daisies were perfect, but the hydrangea was a little… anemic looking. The other bunch was kind of the opposite. And… I needed to make two because I was making one for BG’s dance friend. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get two really nice ones out of what I got. Thankfully, the blue hydrangeas were sold individually and I had several to choose from, so that helped. So did the fact that everything filled out overnight after I got them out of their packaging and in water.

And yes, I did say the costumes were all various shades of blue, but two of those blues leaned towards the purple end, so that helped. It isn’t a perfect match, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen with these colors anyway and why I always do the ribbon inserts. I think I did okay.

2019 Recital Costumes
2019 Recital Costumes

Now I’m going to chill out until the kids get home and the whirlwind of getting everything packed up, hair and makeup done, then the race to get dinner eaten and us all out the door without losing my mind kicks in. And all of that is just the trial run because we have to do it all over again tomorrow for the recital.

Showtime!

Well, it’s almost showtime. I have to do recital bouquets first, which is what is on my to do list for the day. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time finding flowers for a project. Granted, trying to create a bouquet that reflects this year’s costumes when the costumes all are some form of blue isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. I went to 3 different places last night before I found flowers that would work and that satisfied BG as I let her pick them out.

Now, to see if I can pull off arranging them in a way that doesn’t make it look like a disjointed mess. You’d think that after all the inspiration the pointe costume gave me this year, that it would be easy. Apparently trying to add in the others is blowing that creative streak.

Book Review – Mercy Dogs: Tyler Dilts

Author: Tyler Dilts
Book Name: Mercy Dogs
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Suspense/Family Life
Rating: Really Good
4+stars

 

Blurb:

How can a shattered ex-cop follow the rules when he’s no longer sure of them?

For sixteen years, Ben Shepard loyally served the Long Beach Police Department. Then he took a bullet to the head, and his life was shattered. No one expects much of anything from him anymore—except his father, an old man receding into a fog of his own. And except maybe his tenant, Grace, who’s been a warm and friendly constant in his and his father’s bleak lives.

Until the day she vanishes.

After an official investigation stalls, Ben moves forward on his own. But stepping into Grace’s past—and all she was hiding—is a dangerous move for a man who can’t trust his memories from one day to the next. The deeper he gets, the more he has to question whether he’s being driven by the gut instincts of a suspicious former cop or by paranoia.

Recognizing what’s real can save Grace’s life. If only he can trust himself to do it…

This book has sat on my TBR for a while now only because I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Once I finally did pick it up, it took me a bit to get into it because of the jumping around of events and they way things were presented. I completely understand the why behind this and actually ended up liking that, but it took me a bit to sink into because of that.

While you have the overarching story of Grace and what is going on with her disappearance, for me, what made this story so great was seeing the relationship between Ben and his dad and how they were both struggling to overcome some significant struggles. Both of them having major issues that make just getting through the basics of life incredibly difficult, yet still being there and doing what they could for each other made this a really moving story. It is both heartwarming and poignant.

Sounds of Nature

This image is an old one, but it fits perfectly.

Something we had in all the years before they developed and built behind us was this amazing symphony of sound at night in the spring and summer when the windows were open. There were several little gullies or ditches that frogs liked to gather in and you could hear dozens of them every single night. All of them sounding as if they were hanging out just outside the window, and sometimes actually were as those little suckers love to climb on the house. Besides the frogs you’d get the crickets and the cicadas and all the other nocturnal noisemakers.  Continue reading “Sounds of Nature”

Book Review – Why We Fight: At First Sight, Book 4

Author: TJ Klune
Book Name: Why We Fight
Series: At First Sight
Order: #4
Genre: Romance/LGBTQIA
Rating:  Excellent/Favorite
5+stars

 

Blurb:

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s just hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay.

Except that this summer, bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House, a LGBTQI youth center that recently hired an interim director. And because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now current boss.

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart, for help.

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own.

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

I was so excited to see this one was coming out, it went on preorder for me the moment I saw it was available. As always, TJ Klune is a master at over the top, ridiculous humor threaded through with weightier, heartfelt emotions.

You absolutely get classic TJ Klune snark in this book, but you also get more of the deep, insightful aspects as well. There are points, though not a lot, that are heavy in social commentary about the LGBTQIA community and the current political climate (or where we were in 2016), but it doesn’t ever delve into ugliness, only focusing on the stronger, more positive aspects of being yourself and fighting for your right to be that self. In a way, that is kind of what the whole book is about, but it’s mostly done through the lens of the developing relationship between Corey/Kori and Jeremy.

Corey’s/Kori’s character was also a part of the Bear, Otter and the Kid series. I think of all the books in the At First Sight series, this one reminds me more of BOatK because it does ride the balance closer to the heavy emotions side of things rather than the humor side, as most of the other AFS books seem to do (though they also have that emotional side and is why I love them so much).

I think the end of a deeply loved series is always going to have those heart tugging emotions because you know you won’t get any more from those characters. I love the fact that this book brought on the happy tears with the crazy humor, though I really, really wasn’t ready to let go of all the amazing characters in this one. Honestly, I want to be an Auster. Everyone needs a family like that.

 

 

Storm Clouds

BG had one of her final dance classes last night. It was a long one, so I planned on dropping her off instead of staying like normal, but she ended up feeling really crummy. To be on the safe side in case she wanted to leave, I needed to stay. I took my book to keep me busy, but at the last minute, I grabbed my camera, too. Her studio isn’t exactly in a pretty area, so this was totally a whim thing. I am so glad I did.

Continue reading “Storm Clouds”

Rain Speckled Iris

I have Irises blooming. Not all of them yet, but a few. I love the color variations in this one. It is so vivid and eye catching. Irises are some of my favorite to photograph because there are so many different interesting parts, especially once you get close. Fair warning, there will be lots more Iris images in the days to come, when I’m not going insane getting things done in prep for recital or running BG to a million events.

Recipe: Banana Bread

I had to double check and was floored that I hadn’t already posted this recipe. BG has been on a banana kick lately and the topic of banana bread came up and the fact that I’m never allowed to make it because no one ever leaves me any bananas to ripen. They always get eaten. In an effort to prevent this from happening, I had to buy 3 large bunches last week. Even then, I only had enough because I had a lonely, solitary banana hanging out in my freezer for just this purpose.

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Between The Rains

Yesterday was kind of nasty, with rain most of the day. We did have a very brief period where the rain not only stopped, but the sun came out and we got some really pretty blue skies. Of course I took advantage and ran out to try and get some pictures. This one is one of my favorites, though I have so many, it is impossible to pick. I think it is the first time I’ve ever managed to get such a strong reflection inside a water drop. I have a few others that came out as cool, but I’m saving them.

This latest round of pictures put me just over 300 images on my photo print site!

Happy Mother’s Day!

To everyone that has ever filled the role of Mother, no matter your gender or DNA, Happy Mother’s Day!

For me, being Mom has never been just bout having given birth, though that is part of my motherhood. It is about going to countless baseball games, screaming and cheering until my voice gives out, even if I cannot stand baseball.

Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”